SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Students across western Massachusetts are preparing to head back to the classroom, and the United Way of Pioneer Valley is making sure all of those kids have the tools they need to be successful.
Stuff the Bus provides backpacks filled with school supplies for students who are homeless throughout Hampden County, Granby, and South Hadley. This year, the team donated 2,036 backpacks filled with school supplies to students Kindergarten through 12th grade across the Pioneer Valley.
“I think back to when you’re in first grade and you’re teacher says to memorize your address, what if you don’t have an address? That’s just gutwrenching and we want to get as much help as we can to those students,” said Jennifer Kinsman, Director of Community Impact.
Peter Pan Bus Lines donated the bus and the driver to transport the bags and does this each year for the cause. The school supplies were donations from the community, and volunteers put them together.
“We are fortunate to have generous donors who want to ensure that every student begins the school year with the supplies they need. And we are grateful to Peter Pan Bus Lines, who lend a bus and driver each year to deliver the backpacks to the school districts,” said Paul Mina, President and CEO of United Way of Pioneer Valley.
“They get very happy, they’re getting brand new stuff for school,” said Marilyn Nunez, one of the many Partners for Community staff members assisting with getting the backpacks to those students. She being apart of the ‘Stuff the Bus’ event is always rewarding. “It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, to put a smile on someone’s face, especially these little kids.”
Something as simple as a backpack, making a difference for families across the region.
“Being able to gives these backpacks, for the family, that’s one less burden they have to worry about,” said Pamela Cook from Partners for Community.